Nu­dity and body wax­ing all in a day’s work

Mir­ror re­porter Mary-jo To­hill got ath­letic leg­end Steve Gur­ney’s take on life while he was in Cen­tral Otago this week pro­mot­ing his new book Eat­ing Dirt . . . in a fun ques­tion and an­swer ses­sion.

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Q: So what is it about you and dirt? A: I guess it’s ametaphor for my phi­los­o­phy on life. The over­ar­ch­ing mes­sage is that you learn from your mis­takes and to do this, you have to eat dirt a few times, take a few risks and crash off your bike. At schools and in sport, we’re bub­ble-wrapping kids and they’re miss­ing out on get­ting the ex­pe­ri­ence of how to judge risk, so that they’ll know how to find their lim­its later in life. Q: What are your thoughts about death? A: I’m scared of it. Both my par­ents died of can­cer. I nearly died of lep­tospiro­sis. While I was ly­ing in hospi­tal, and my or­gans weren’t func­tion­ing prop­erly, and I thought, ‘this is not good, maybe I am go­ing to die’, I re­alised you have to do things that re­ally mat­ter to you. Q: What’s it been like los­ing your home in Christchurch as a re­sult of the earth­quake? A: Chal­leng­ing, up­set­ting to say the least. I’d worked hard to buy my house at Red­cliffs. I based my­self there to train, and it was great be­ing able to just take my kayak down to the wa­ter, and as a re­sult my kayak­ing was my strength. I mourn the loss of life­style, the view, the hills, be­ing able to wan­der down and get a cof­fee. But it’s all about re­silience. The loss of your house is a good les­son. Q: So what’s next on the list? A: Next year I’m mak­ing a kite­buggy at­tempt of Namibia’s Skele­ton Coast. Q: When are you go­ing to get a real job?! A: What I do is a real job! Q: What’s your phi­los­o­phy about nu­dity? A: That time when I ap­peared naked on break­fast TV, it was the an­nual build up to the Coast to Coast, and we needed to change it up. It was cold up there on the Port Hills (above Christchurch) I tell you! Q: Speak­ing of nu­dity, how about you and wax­ing? A: While work­ing on Danc­ing with the Stars, my part­ner told me that the fe­male vot­ing pub­lic don’t like hairy go­ril­las. Swim­mer Danyon Loader said ‘don’t do it, it hurts!’ Even­tu­ally I went and had my body waxed, and ac­tu­ally it wasn’t too bad, at least not un­til I started get­ting in­grown hairs. Q: What’s your re­la­tion­ship like with ly­cra? A: Hav­ing to wear a skin-tight ly­cra ball­room danc­ing suit didn’t faze me a bit. A life­time lived in ly­cra is a big mo­ti­va­tor not to put on weight, be­cause when I do, it doesn’t look too flash. We have a copy of Steve Gur­ney’s new book Eat­ing Dirt to give away to a lucky reader. Email us at mir­ with ‘‘Eat­ing Dirt’’ in the sub­ject line to go in to win. And if you missed Steve at Pa­per Plus Alexan­dra and Cromwell yes­ter­day, there’s also a chance to catch up with him at the Edge­wa­ter Ho­tel, in Wanaka, tonight at 7pm. He will be do­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion on his new book along­side au­thor Pat Bar­rett speak­ing on his new book South­ern Lakes: Tracks and Trails. Tick­ets are $10 and avail­able for Pa­per Plus.

Loss is Good: Ath­lete turned au­thor Gur­ney re­flects on what he has lost and gained through the Christchurch earth­quakes.

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